Boko Haram Casting a Shadow Over Nigeria

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For the past few months, Boko Haram militants have been casting a great shadow of evil and destruction over Nigeria, causing people to flee the country to seek refuge in other areas. Suspected Boko Haram militants have shot and slit the throats of 68 people in a small town in Nigeria’s Borno state, followed by the attackers burning down the entire village of Njaba, according to local sources. In a similar spate of attacks, dozens of gunmen broke into homes, robbing people of their possessions and then executing them.

In an earlier incident that scored a great deal of media attention, Boko Haram militants kidnapped around 100 girls from a Nigerian school with motives about rebuking women’s education, threatening to sell them and rendering them as “slaves.” Moreover, a large number of women poured out into the streets of Nigeria, engaging in highly emotional protests against the intensifying violence and missing school girls from Nigeria’s Chibok village. The militants threatened to sell off the each girl at a price of $12 each, if their demands are not met by the Nigerian government. Many say that the girls who have been kidnapped by Boko Haram have been converted to Islam and some have even been turned into suicide bombers. There has also been intense campaigning against the militants under #Bringbackourgirls on Twitter.

Harrowing stories such as these are common in Nigeria these days, as a large part of this nation is already under the terrifying grip of Boko Haram insurgents. The main instigator of the Boko Haram attacks is Chief Abu Bakr Shekau, who said to be a ruthless recluse with absolute defiance. His reign of terror over the savannas of Nigeria have struck fear into many villagers, who are attempting to flee the area.

Recently, Boko Haram is said to have come under the patronage of the notorious ISIS insurgents, which have helped them in their ever-increasing radical religious fervor. Boko Haram, which translates to, “Western education is sin,” in local Hausa language, has escalated its attacks in the last few years, ravaging schools, churches, mosques and government buildings, demanding more autonomy over the region. The militants intend to impose strict Sharia law on the Nigerian state which will inevitably darken the bright lands of Nigeria with a shadow of terror.

In recent weeks, Niger and Cameroon have launched a joint military offensive against Boko Haram. The militants are said to have planted explosives in the paths of the advancing Nigerien soldiers in order to stop them. The government of Cameroon stated that some of the Boko Haram militants have been killed under custody. These detainees were part of the insurgents held on accounts of bloodshed and terrorist activities carried out in the northern part of Nigeria years ago.

A bigger threat that Nigeria’s Boko Haram militants have instigated is the sectarian violence that has caused many Christians to flee from Nigeria’s northern region. The insurgents have even set fire to many homes, forcing many residents to flee the town of Bama in Nigeria. Some of the residents were too old and sick to leave the place, thus left behind to be victims of heinous executions.

Just a few months ago, Boko Haram declared a pledge of allegiance to the ISIS, the Islamic state of Iraq and Syria. This was declared by the Boko Haram chief Abu Bakr Shekau in a message last week. In light of this, the United States has announced a ransom of $7 million on the head of the leader.

Sources say better military coordination and the building of a joint task force can tackle the devastating attacks that have been carries out by the Boko Haram militants. To strengthen this move, Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace Prize winning humanitarian from Afghanistan, demanded the immediate return of abducted school girls. Furthermore, the world has come out against Boko Haram and their willingness to wage destruction over the regions of Nigeria and Africa as a whole. To battle these ruthless rebels, a coalition of nations needs to be built in order to shine the light of freedom onto the shadow-stricken savannas of Nigeria.

Written by Puloma Banerjee


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Photo by Tyler Durdan – Flickr License